The silver anniversary of rock bottom: At least they weren’t streaky

At this point in the 1988 season the Braves were already 20 games under .500 and 15 games behind the division leaders.

But they were about to begin what would be their longest winning streak of the season — 3 games. That’s right, the ’88 Braves never won more than 3 in a row. They did it twice in June, sandwiched, of course by a 4-game losing streak.

The second of those streaks started in Los Angeles, against one Don Sutton. Braves ace Rick Mahler did most of the work, collecting two hits, driving in two and going the distance for his 8th victory. He had accounted for 1/3 of the team’s wins at that point, but he would win just 2 more games in a Braves uniform.

The first came nine starts later, an ugly 8-5 defeat of the Giants.  His final win came three years later, in the second game of a doubleheader sweep vs. Pittsburgh. Mahler, signed off the scrap heap after he was released by Montreal, held the mighty Pirates to two runs in 6 IP — a most unlikely victory that moved the Braves to within 4.5 of the division lead.

Francisco Cabrera made a rare start at catcher that night, and in the 8th inning he provided a preview of the greatest moment in franchise history, homering to left for what turned out to be the game-winning run. On the mound for the Bucs: Stan Belinda.


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